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Cynic - Carbon-Based Anatomy CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.97 | 106 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Mixed Bag of Beauty, Spacy Prog, and New Age Mellowness

Cynic is absolutely one of my favorite bands. TRACED IN AIR is in my opinion one of the best albums ever made. The band integrates so many things I love into one brilliant and singular sound. Jazzy grooves and harmonic structure, technical metal guitar flourishes, psychedelic textures, and eastern mysticism. These are a few of my fav-or-ite things. With CARBON BASED ANATOMY, Cynic is the least metal and most psych-prog it's ever been. On paper, that doesn't bother me at all. However, in execution, the band has lost a little of its edge.

Paul Masdival is getting more and more comfortable with his singing voice, and though his sense of pitch and melody are fine, his natural timbre is a bit "bratty" and as he sheds the heavy processing (Cynic's signature "robot vocals") and the backing growls, the music suffers a bit. This is most annoying on the chorus of "Box Up My Bones" which has an almost alt-pop quality that isn't bad per se, but is simply not what I'm looking for when I put on a Cynic album. "Elves Beam Out" is better, with some very strong instrumental sections but lacking the grand refrains a la "Evolutionary Sleeper." The best song by far is the title track, which seems like the logical evolution of Cynic's sound moving from FOCUS through TIA. The fade in of the two Seans is brilliant as ever (please keep Malone on every Cynic project!!!), and the sci-fi lyric is the best on the album. Shimmering clean guitars, pulsing bass, this is what I bought the album for.

The other three tracks are world-tinged transitions that I personally like quite a bit, but again move the EP decidedly into the range of New Age ambience. By the end of the space- trance "Hieroglyph" I'm left feeling happy to have new Cynic material that does indeed offer something new to their body of work, but also just a bit disappointed. What I'd really like is a longer work (30-40 minutes) where the band brings a bit of the metal back, abandons any poppish aspiration, but keeps the ambient interludes. Keeping the range of emotion and sounds that we've grown to love from this band would hopefully push them back into masterpiece level.

This is a 3.5 star album I'm rounding up because they are Cynic after all, and this is still some of the best space metal you can find.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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